Google pulls out of competition for $10B Pentagon cloud contract

Google pulls out of competition for $10B Pentagon cloud contract

The biggest cloud companies, including Amazon, Microsoft, IBM and Oracle, all have been jockeying for bidding position for the winner-take-all Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract.

The Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure contract is a massive undertaking that aims to transform the US military's information technology infrastructure by moving vast amounts of its data to a cloud computing platform.

Shortly after the protest over Maven, Google said it would not renew the contract or pursue similar military contracts.

"We are not bidding on the JEDI contract because first, we couldn't be assured that it would align with our AI principles and second, we determined that there were portions of the contract that were out of scope with our current government certifications", a Google representative said in the statement, adding that the company works with the USA government in many areas. Among the guidelines: Google won't create AI for weapons, but it will still work with the military.

The contract could last up to ten years and the victor of the bid is expected to be announced at the end of the year.

Still, Google's decision to pull out was probably a smart one given that its chances of landing the contract were pretty slim, a second analyst said.

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The JEDI program is expected to award the full $10 billion contract to a single bidder, making Amazon the leading contender due to its extensive experience as a cloud provider.

Amazon Web Services is now the only company to have achieved an IL-6 security authorization, besting other competitors including Microsoft, Oracle and International Business Machines.

In a statement to Bloomberg, the Tech Workers Coalition said that "sustained" pressure from employees opposed to Google involvement in JEDI showed workers "have significant power, and are increasingly willing to use it".

Google cited its AI principles, which were published back in June, as the reason for dropping out of the bidding process. A dozen people resigned before Google pledged to ditch Project Maven but "continue our work with governments and the military".

The JEDI contract attracted widespread interest from technology companies struggling to catch up with Amazon in the burgeoning federal government market for cloud services. "You may see a place to recharge your Fitbit but nothing to indicate the sort of patriotic identity that the rest of the defense contractors have".

"Had the JEDI contract been open to multiple vendors, we would have submitted a compelling solution for portions of it", the Google spokesman said.

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